December 19, 2016
Read verses: 1 Peter 4:7-11
7 “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:7-11).
Advent is not just a reminder of the past when the Messiah came into the world in the human and humble form of a baby. It also looks forward to the promised return of the Messiah. He will return in human form as a resurrected man and a Conquering King to assume his rule in the presence of his people. His return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16) will be personal, visible, victorious, glorious, and final!
In anticipation of Jesus’ return at any moment, the Christian knows “the end of all things is at hand.” St. Peter writes this with such a confident and hopeful tone. This reminder from the dear apostle prompts the believer to ask, “What then are we to do in anticipation of King Jesus’ return?”
Christ’s return must not prompt us to do but rather to be. As followers of Christ, we are to be a people whose very ethos is seen by the love that we display to one another. “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly” (vs. 8). Jesus used similar words as he instructed his disciples. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). This is a rich command teeming with practical examples of how love is expressed to our fellow man. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (vs. 10).
What is your gift? Do you use your gift to serve God and others? Have you been living in loving anticipation of Jesus’ return? Let this Advent season be a time to rekindle your love for God and his church through the loving use of your spiritual gifts. What a great season for people with gifts of hospitality to host people from the church with a meal, particularly those who have no family in the vicinity. People with gifts of mercy can bring amazing joy to Christians who are home-bound or in care facilities as it is a time when people can feel the loneliest. Those with spiritual gifts of prayer, wisdom, and teaching can bring immense hope during Advent by interceding, giving insight and instructing with words to live by. As we celebrate Christ’s birth and as we await his return, let us be a people of love as seen through the use of the gifts that God has given us.
Father, thank you for the spiritual gifts that you have given each follower of your son. May your love to us, expressed through your son, Jesus the Christ, be our ever present reason to love one another this Advent season and beyond, in anticipation of his return. In the name of your son and our Lord, Amen.